So, Facebook want a new brand name. As people who create brand names, we can say it’s not easy. An art even. So, for inspiration, let’s look at a wordsmith’s take on it.

Jack Kerouac drew up a “List of 30 Beliefs and Techniques for ‘Prose and Life,” which was allegedly tacked on the wall of Allen Ginsberg’s hotel room in North Beach a year before his iconic poem ‘Howl’ was written. (Source: Brainpicker Maria Popova.)

Kerouac’s list is inspiring not just for writers, also brand name development.

(Feature image from Changing Footsteps)

Each item in Kerouac’s original list, below, is in italics, and each is followed by comments relating it to the art of naming

1. Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy 

Keep lots of notebooks, scraps, post-its and shreds with names, ideas, concepts. You never know when and how they may lead to the development of a name.

2.  Submissive to everything, open, listening

Always. Very important. The world is speaking the name you are looking for, but if you aren’t listening, you’ll likely miss it.

3. Try never get drunk outside yr own house

Avoid getting drunk in general, but if you do, make sure you have a notebook with you…

4.  Be in love with yr life 

Yes, its the only one you've got

5.  Something that you feel will find its own form

Trust your gut. Follow the glimmer of the idea. They will lead to the “form” of the names.

6. Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind

Because it’s a fine line between inspiration and madness. You have to push the limits to know where the limits are.

7. Blow as deep as you want to blow 

Dive deep into a name or idea and don’t let anything hold you back.

8. Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind

Names will come from writing often, whether lists, stories, poems, blogs…

9.  The unspeakable visions of the individual

Visions and other unnameables that nevertheless might lead to names. Just because something can’t be described (named) doesn’t mean you can’t describe (name) it.

10. No time for poetry but exactly what is.

Poetry isn’t a magic place you have to travel to or make time for. It is all around us all the time. It is exactly what is

(Jack Kerouac by Tom Palumbo circa 1956)

11. Visionary tics shivering in the chest

Exactly where great names often begin. You can almost feel them coming before they arrive, tickling your heart before your brain catches up.

12. In tranced fixation dreaming upon object before you.

Focus on the task at hand, meditate on the brand positioning that a name must map to.

13. Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition

All that can come later, when you’re in editing mode. When developing names, start with no rules, then gradually introduce the most important one: that the name supports the brand positioning.

14. Like Proust be an old teahead of time. Step out of the linear flow of time

A name can come from any place, or any time, and the collision of disparate eras can be powerful in developing a name.

15. Telling the true story of the world in interior monolog

Turn the naming problem into a story and run through it in your mind over and over.

16. The jewel centre of interest is the eye within the eye

The best names have many layers of meaning, and you can drill deep into them and keep discovering new things.

17. Write in recollection and amazement for yourself

Draw on your memory and follow what makes you most passionate, obsessed and excited.

18. Work from pithy middle eye out, swimming in language sea

Immerse yourself in words to the point of drowning.

19. Accept loss forever

Not every idea works. Most, in fact, are “failures.” Failures smartly explored can lead to success. But not Silicon Valley style. keep the humility.

20.Believe in the holy contour of life

All of life is waiting for you when you are in need of a name, not just the dictionary and thesaurus. Believe in life and immerse yourself in it, following its trails.

21. Struggle to sketch the flow that already exists intact in mind

Great names are already flowing in your mind; the trick is to get them out into the light of consciousness without your editor brain and logic filters keeping them locked up out of sight.

22. Don't think of words when you stop but to see picture better

Visualize the brand you are naming, and visualize how a name might be used.

23. Keep track of every day the date emblazoned in yr morning

You want to create space for free range roaming in the playground of your mind, but it’s equally important to keep the process structured, to temper unbridled freedom with the constraint of process.

Michelangelo said, “Art lives by constraint and dies of freedom.” We have to stay focused on the big picture.

 

24. No fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language & knowledge

Don’t think for a moment that you are not creative enough, or not up to the task, of creating a great name–you probably just have the wrong filters in place.

25. Write for the world to read and see yr exact pictures of it

A name has to work in the real world, which means it should be more engaging and memorable than the names of your competition, and it should be inspiring to people.

26. Bookmovie is the movie in words, the visual American form

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a great name can paint a thousand pictures in the minds of your audience.

27. In praise of Character in the Bleak inhuman Loneliness

Think of every great name added to the world as making the world a better place for all of us to live, and another flash of human connection illuminating the darkness.

28. Composing wild, undisciplined, pure, coming in from under, crazier the better

Start by following your gut, uninhibited, free, flowing

29. You’re a Genius all the time

Ginsberg may have been, but we’re not. It never hurts, however, to think positive.

30. Writer-Director of Earthly movies Sponsored & Angeled in Heaven.

What you can put on your business card or website once your angelic visions have been bought and your name has taken the world by storm. In the meantime, keep it to yourself.

Why is a name so important?

(Passport Photo, 1953. Fingerprint on paper. Originally published in Steinberg, The Passport, 1954)

The answer is simple: a company or product name is the first and most elemental point of definition and audience contact with your brand.

In most respects, the name IS the brand, and sets the tone for everything your brand is about. In short, everything you do or ever will do begins with your name. That’s why it’s vital to get the name right.

Most companies that settle for a mediocre name do so because they fail to understand that a name is the single most important element of brand strategy.

When you have great name, people will remember it, talk about it, and have an emotional connection to your brand. The name becomes a natural and authentic extension of your brand, and demonstrates to the world the values of your brand positioning.

We are not naming your company or product. We are naming the positioning of your company and product, the unique tone, personality, ideas and story you want your brand to express to the world. All great names support the positioning of the business or product they speak for.

Where do you go for brand name generation?

Here.

Anew are brand development and marketing specialists for ambitious businesses of excellence. Creating brand names is part of our expertise.

We help companies increase brand profitability through sharper insights, distinctive propositions, creative ideas and faultless execution. We are particularly adept at working directly with luxury brands, business owners, start-ups and entrepreneurs who are committed to sustainability, outstanding quality and craft.

Based in the heart of London, we'd be delighted to meet for a coffee, either face-to-face or virtually, to discuss any new projects you might be considering.

You name it.

Get in touch here.

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